Sunday, October 14, 2018

2018 North Miami Brewfest

This year's North Miami Brewfest will take place on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at MOCA PLAZA in North Miami. This beer festival is organized by FIU's Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.

This is a very fun event and a showcase for the local craft brew industry, brewpubs and local homebrewers. In addition to local breweries pouring samples of their beers, there will also be several educational seminars delivered by the school's faculty and industry experts. This brewfest actually benefits the school's Brewing Science Program, so you'll see lots of students volunteering.

Several local restaurants will also be offering food samples from their restaurants. And the best part, the beer, food, seminars, music and activities are all included in the price of the tickets!

I've been to this event several times and give it an A+! The people are all friendly (you'll definitely have fun and make some new friends), the food is delicious, and you should absolutely sign up for one of the seminars! You can follow on Instagram here and be sure to use hashtag #nomibrewfest for any social media posts.

The event will be held at:

700 Northeast 124th Street
North Miami, FL 33161
Saturday 11/10/2018 from 12 pm - 5 pm
Tickets can be purchased here.

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Weihenstephaner Festbier

I've had Weihenstephaner Festbier many times including this 2011 review, but since the agency representing the brewery sent me this bottle, I'll write another up-to-date quickie. 5.8 % alcohol. 11.2 oz.

Sweet, grainy, toasty aroma. Similar flavors full of the same sweet grain and toast. Hoppy, a little grassy. Some light fruity apple. Good body. Tasty.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Flower Power India Pale Ale

Today I'm checking out Ithaca Beer's Flower Power India Pale Ale. I wrote a little piece on this when I first tried it over 8 years ago, but since Total Wine brought a truckload of Ithaca Beer to Florida in their Brewery Direct program, I figured I'd give it another spot.

This time, the beer is in a can. Same great label design, trippy colors, bringing back hippie memories from my days at Cornell. "The Spirit of the Finger Lakes."

Beautiful color. The aroma is terrific and full of orange and citrus. Fruity orange and melon, some citrus come first. Sweet initially but with a spicy kick of an answer. Tangy and pretty bitter overall. The finish is dry. Nice beer!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Sunrise City IPA

Around three years ago, my wife and I made a stop in Ft. Pierce to visit Sailfish Brewing. It was a very enjoyable experience! Today, Sailfish has some distribution all the way down to Miami, including their Sunrise City IPA, which I think the keg was kicked back when we visited! Things have changed with a bigger brewing system.

There's a story on the can to set your expectations. 7% alcohol. Very nice label artwork.

Beautiful melon, cantaloupe and tangerine aroma. Wow! Big pine flavors come first, spicy and resinous. There is also plenty of citrus, this beer really shows off the orange and tangerine flavors.

This beer is quite bitter, though some melon sweetness and balance comes with a little warmth. I liked it very much. Check it out! Visit the brewery if you can.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Single in Havana

Barrel of Monks' Single in Havana recently appeared in local distribution packages. This is a Belgian-inspired pale ale brewed with guava, brewed with Cuban pastelitos de guayaba in mind. 4.5% alcohol.

Cloudy pour. Nice guava aroma, nicely sweet with some faint yeast in the background. Flavors also showcase the guava, tart and sweet. There is definitely a taste of the "Belgian Inspiration" with a yeasty bite.

Citrus, fruity orange with a nicely hoppy component. Tasty beer!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Key Lime Pie

Funky Buddha's Key Lime Pie is still on the shelves at my local liquor store, but I guess you better grab a bottle soon since the brewery website says availability ends in August. I drank my bottle in June and am just getting around to publishing this now. Key Lime Pie is a Berliner-Style Fruit Ale brewed with key lime juice, cinnamon and vanilla. 5.0% alcohol.

Tons of lime and citrus in the aroma with just a hint of vanilla. Tart on palate to start, light pucker at first. Again, there is no lack of lime and citrus flavors. Vanilla nips can be found in the background but I didn't taste any cinnamon. Mostly a tangy, lightly tart, super-citrusy beer. Not bad.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Fruit-Full Fort

Dogfish Head recently released their Fruit-Full Fort, a variation on their Fort beer, this one being brewed with boysenberries, raspberries, blackberries and elderberries. 15-18% alcohol. I've never seen a range given before but that's what their website says. You'll be warned with the "Extreme" beer cap. Bottled 07/18/18 Drink 08/18/18. Yep I drank it at one month old despite the label note that it "ages well." Oh, one more thing--this was $10 for one 12 ounce bottle.

Brownish in color. Raspberries and blackberries dominate the aroma, not huge but nice. WOW on the flavor! Jammy, preserve-like flavors and texture. Alcohol is noticeable but not harsh and it really helps cut the richness of the beer.

I'm not sure one fruit stands out, but this bee is all about the fruit. Lots of flavor and interesting.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Saison Rose

Of course I'm going to check out Ommegang's Saison Rose, a new beer from an awesome brewery, despite its $6 price tag for one 12 ounce bottle. This beer is a blend of an oak aged beer and one brewed with hibiscus flowers and chardonnay grape juice. 7.7% alcohol.

Soft, fruity and floral aroma with a touch of wine character. Fruity and floral flavors dominate the start with tons of hibiscus. The Oak flavors are also immediately noticeable.

Tart, dry, yeasty with some hay flavors, light tannins. Grape flavors come through in the finish. For sure interesting, and while the flowers and grapes do dance, the hibiscus takes over in a negative way. Pass, especially for the price.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale appeared in my local Total Wine store as a Brewery Direct beer a few weeks ago. Yeah, I know most pumpkin beers are gross anyway, but in Miami's August???

So maybe you've heard this isn't really my favorite style of beer. But every year I need to check out one or two pumpkin beers for research purposes. This year, I'm not procrastinating and getting things out of the way early! 8.0% alcohol. 16 IBU.

Rich color. Little head. Earthy aroma with hints of cloves and cinnamon, not that big.

Flavors full of rich pumpkin, sweet, earthy, and lots of gingerbread. Very nice flavors, which the alcohol helps heighten with a little kick.

Cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg are all noticeable but nuanced enough to be a pleasant addition (not your normal beer "ruiner." Not bad!

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Diplomat Beach Resort Beer Dinner Featuring Odd Breed Wild Ales

Last week, The Diplomat's Point Royal restaurant hosted a five-course beer dinner paired with beers from Pompano Beach's Odd Breed Wild Ales. Executive Chef Jorge Negron and Odd Breed Co-Owners Matt Manthe and Dan Naumko led the dinner, sharing information about each course and the specific beer it was paired with. Odd Breed is one of very few breweries that focuses exclusively on brewing wild ales.

All of the food was fantastic! The Wahoo Tiradito, Steak Tartare, Blue Maine Mussels, and Sweet Corn Cake with Mascarpone Ice Cream, well I pretty much named everything but those were all of my favorites. You can read the specifics on the menu posted below.

As for the beers, I really enjoyed the Thai Rack Jasmine Rice Saison with Lemongrass and the Dinkelwheat Dry Hopped Spelt Saison. And the aroma from the Torito Rye Wild Baltic Porter, I'd make out with that all day! You can also see some descriptions of the beers below as well.

Jorge Matt and Dan
Service was excellent as was the conversation. The restaurant's General Manager told us they are considering making this type of beer dinner a regular occurrence there. Point Royal is scheduled to host another beer dinner with Civil Society Brewing on 9/20/18. Definitely check that out and reserve your tickets here! I'll post more details soon. Hopefully, the series continues beyond that as well.

Odd Breed Wild Ales can be found at 50 NE 1st St, Pompano Beach, FL 33060

The Diplomat Beach Resort (which you probably don't need my help) is located at 3555 South Ocean Drive, Hollywood, FL 33019

Monday, July 23, 2018

Barrel Runner 2018

Founders Brewing recently sent Barrel Runner to the Miami market. Part of their Barrel Aged Series, this is a Mosaic-hopped Imperial IPA aged in rum barrels. 2018 Release. 11.1% alcohol. 55 IBU

Holy Butterscotch, Batman! Huge aroma, full of rum, some generic fruitiness, lightly hoppy. You can really taste the rum from the start too, sweet and very rich, lots of butterscotch.

But after a few sips, sweet does collide with some hoppy flavors. Some citrus, light spiciness and hints of pine do show. The alcohol is noticeable, not hot but a little annoying after a while.

Big body. Bold flavors. Very interesting. The story on the back says this beer will make me believe I'm in the tropics. That wasn't necessarily the case; I was already believing that with the miserable weather here in Miami!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

La Playita Hop-Accented Pils

Local Miami Brewery The Tank recently started distributing a few of their beers locally. Freedom Tower Amber is packaged in puzzling 11.2 oz bottles while La Playita Hop-Accented Pils comes in 12 oz cans. Both were priced around $12 for a sixer, so they better be stud beers for super-local, low alcohol beers.

I grabbed La Playita first. Very nice can art depicting the beach and hotels that line it. "Brewed for the Beach!" says a tagline on the can. A little story on the back of the can sets your expectations. Put your phone in rotate lock or turn your head and you can read that below. 5.1% alcohol. Canned 05/30/2018 Drink 07/22/2018 (which was within one week of the first day it hit the shelves at Total Wine.)

Faint aroma, lightly lemony, hoppy and floral. Nice flavors, fruity apple and light sweet graininess meet some floral hoppy bitterness.

Super balanced! Not sure I'd call this a "Hop-Accented Pils." I mean, of course there are hops in this beer, but to offer that extra description should mean a much more pronounced hops character. And honestly that is what I wanted more of: a spicy bitter bite. That said, La Playita is simple, refreshing and flavorful.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Coconut Creme Ale

Total Wine in Florida currently has another Brewery Direct brand. I picked up Schlafly Coconut Creme Ale to check out. Part of their Special Release Series, the brewery calls this a dessert beer. 5.5% alcohol. 17 IBU.

Faint coconut aroma, very soft and unpronounced. Sweet flavors to start, toasty with a light fruitiness. Coconut builds with each sip. There is some bitter relief in the background. Pretty "one note" but not bad. Not exactly a dessert beer either in my opinion.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

San Franpsycho IPA

Anchor Brewing recently collaborated with local clothing and lifestyle brand San Franpsycho to create San Franpsycho IPA. This "Juicy India Pale Ale" is brewed with peaches and apricots. 6.3% alcohol.

Super juicy and fruity aroma, you can really smell both peaches and apricots. Flavors also full of peaches, tangy, nicely bitter, and a little dry. Definitely delivered on the fruity promises. Interesting and a winner!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Septima Saison

Today I'm checking out Coppertail's Septima Saison. Evan B. Harris' label art is excellent as usual, depicting the area around the brewery known as Ybor City, specifically 7th Avenue (Septima). Roosters really do run wild there while coffee aromas fill the air, super unique! In fact, part of the sales of this beer go to promote the area.

Aroma is a little spicy but mostly neutral. Lightly fruity flavors are followed by some yeasty funkiness. Spicy, peppery, some citrus. Solid though I liked the label art better than the beer. Probably just a style preference.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Estrella Galicia Special Lager

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to try Spain's Estrella Galicia Special Lager at an event in Miami. This is not related to other "Estrella" beers. On the way out, I bribed the brewery rep and took home a bottle for review here. 11.2 ounce bottles, 5.5% alcohol.

Lightly sweet aroma, some grain and honey. Very nice flavors, again starting with grain and honey. But some lemony and floral components add balance. Light apple. Sweet to start but enough bitter balance along the way. Crisp and clean. Nice beer.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Hi-Lo-Peno Pale Ale

"The Tacos of Beer?" Sign me up! Pair O' Dice Hi-Lo-Peno Pale Ale cans recently showed up in my local Miami liquor store. This is a pale ale brewed with jalapenos and limes, but no meat (the story assures you)! 5.5% alcohol.

Not much of an aroma, had to work for hints of both lime and jalapeno. Starts like a simple pale ale, lightly bitter. Then some lime starts to show, zesty, citrus. Then some jalapeno in the finish.

Next sip, lime starts to jump to the forefront. A few sips later, the lime builds and becomes a dominant flavor, just overwhelms everything else. The jalapeno flavor remains a constant, lightly "peppery" and "gardenish" but never spicy or hot.

Lime, jalapeno, burp, repeat. Get it?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Two Brothers Sidekick Pale Ale

Today I'm checking out Two Brothers Sidekick Pale Ale. "Everyone Needs a Sidekick." 5.1% alcohol. 36 IBU. Kick By 10/22/18.

Floral aroma with some caramel, not too strong but nice. Flavors the same. Sweet caramel comes first. There is a floral, bitter, hoppy answer, but overall this is kind of sweet with a big body. Rich for a pale ale which detracted some from the refreshment. Was OK.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Idolatrous IPA

Today I'm checking out Stone Idolatrous IPA, part of their Hop Worship Series. For this beer, Stone is worshiping El Dorado and Mosaic hops. 7% alcohol. I drank it less than a month after it was canned so was definitely fresh.

Citrus orange and pineapple are the aroma stars with some hoppy resin in the background. My wife actually asked if the beer was brewed with pineapples. Hops are some awesome bundles of joy!

Bright citrus flavors full of orange and tangerine come first, a little zesty and with hints of hop resin. Second wave is pure pineapple, not too sweet but tropical and a great contrast to the initial flavors.

Dry. A little spicy. Great bitterness with just enough sweet fruity nibbles in the background. Very good. I took to a 4th of July party and the Corona drinkers were stealing my beer! Was probably the marketing story that was irresistible! LOL

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Sparkleberry Raspberry Belgian-Style Ale

This week I grabbed a pounder can of Bell's Sparkleberry Raspberry Belgian-Style Ale. This is a Tripel brewed with raspberries that clocks in 9.0% alcohol. Canned 051818 Drink 070718

Nice reddish-pink color. Full nose of raspberries, sweet and tart and prominent. Nicely tart flavors full of raspberries right from the start. Some Belgian yeast and spicy character does show but the raspberries are the main flavor, hard to really find the underlying tripel. But you will know it has some alcohol in it!

I thought it was OK. The raspberry flavor was good, genuine, but I have to agree with my wife when she took one sip and in her always honest opinion said "it tastes like medicine!" Maybe this style wasn't the one to pair with a fruit. The beer did win a GABF medal a few years ago so check it out and make up your own mind.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Hot Tub Scholarship Lager

Rogue Hot Tub Scholarship Lager showed up on the local liquor store shelves recently. This German Style Helles Lager was inspired by Rogue founder Jack Joyce's love of hot tubs, and sales benefit the fermentation science students at Oregon State University. Can art is fun. 5.4% alcohol. 35 IBU

Sweet honey, grainy aroma, very pleasant. Toast and bread flavors come first. Touch of honey, a little sweet to start. But some grassy balance follows, especially with a nice bitter finish. Good body. Check it out! (Any hot chicks want to skinnydip in a hot tub, let me know.)

Monday, June 25, 2018

Hoptimum Triple IPA 2018

Sierra Nevada recently released this year's 2018 Hoptimum Triple IPA. "Distinguished, Yet Devilishly Hoppy!" There's a little story about the beer you can read below. 9.6% alcohol. PKGD 05/18/18 Drink 06/23/18

Aroma full of citrus and tangerines, very hoppy, fruity, nice. Sweet orange marmalade flavors first, some caramel as well. A spicy bitter answer comes next.

Rich, resinous, spicy. Very nice carbonation and texture. Flavors are well balanced while terrifically hoppy. Nice lingering bitterness in every sip. Yum!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Woodchuck Hard Cider Cucumber Mint

Woodchuck recently sent me their most recent Tank Series Hard Cider: Cucumber Mint. 170 calories for the can and gluten free. 5% alcohol.

Cucumber and mint are both very noticeable and work great together. The tart cider backdrop is also a great canvas for these flavors. Nice acidity and flavors! Check it out!

Monday, June 18, 2018

1906 Black Coupage

Last weekend, my wife and I attended the Cochon555 Miami stop of their US Tour (if you haven't been, it's a must stop!) I had my share of Glenfiddich 14, some new Woodford Reserve expressions, and enough cocktails to want something a little lighter! And I didn't really feel like drinking wine.

Luckily, there was a beer vendor, serving up two beers brewed by Hijos de Rivera in Spain. I only tried their Estrella Galicia that day, but on the way out was given a bottle of their 1906 Black Coupage, which brings us up to date! BTW, for that link, either learn Spanish or Google will be happy to translate for you.

Two stories on the label set your expectations when drinking "The Black Sheep of the Family." 11.2 oz bottle. 7.2% alcohol.

Great aroma full of chocolate and roast with hints of licorice. Flavors are great! Rich, super creamy, smooth, really nice velvety texture.

Chocolate, cocoa, licorice and butterscotch bring a decadent start. Some hints of coffee and a nice roast add interest. Nicely balanced between sweet and bitter. Very nice beer!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Bud Light Orange

Happy Father's Day! I have a big treat for you today, Bud Light Orange, marketed by the brewery as "refreshment with a twist." Clear bottle, good call. And get this, the bottle bragging in multiple spots that this is "brewed with real orange peels." 4.2% alcohol.

Huge orange peel aroma, that's about it. Flavors the same, tons of orange and sharp citrus, oily. Completely overdone! But that orange does dissipate a little unmasking the super-blah grainy thin base beer. Two phases, not incorporated at all. Weird and pass!